Grandparents are likely to live for longer if their children have kids later in life, new research shows

If your parents are nagging you to hurry up and have kids, this is a great study to argue against the point

Grandmother with grandchild
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new study has revealed that grandparents are more likely to live longer if their children have their grandkids later in life. 

The connection between grandparent and grandchild is precious, leaving many parents to wonder if grandparents really love their grandkids more than their own children. But even if we do get a bit jealous of all the attention they receive, it's always a delight to see a grandchild getting to spend precious bonding time with their grandparents. 

You'd be forgiven for thinking that, in order for a grandparent to get the most time with their grandkid, you would have to have children earlier in life, when the grandparents themselves are younger. But new research has suggested that, in fact, the opposite is true. 

A study, conducted by The Calculator Site, analysed the fertility and life expectancy rates across 37 different countries and found that, countries in which women had children later in life, were also the countries who had the highest life expectancy. Therefore, children born to older mothers are likely to have longer-living grandparents. 

The study found that the median age for a woman to become a mother in a developing or a developed country is 29 years and 3 months old, and in Korea, Spain and Italy the average age is higher, at 32 and 31. These developed countries also have a higher life expectancy than others, meaning grandchildren born in these countries could spend the most time with their grandparents. 

Comparatively, the countries where kids spent the least time with their grandparents were Hungary, Croatia, and Bulgaria who have both a lower life expectancy and median age for mothers, with mothers in Bulgaria being, on average, 26 and a half when they give birth. 

"There are so many myths around whether it is good or bad that women delay having children, whether richer nations are going through a generational crisis on the backdrop of older mothers and ageing populations, and of the widening gap between generations," said Alastair Hazell from The Calculator Site.

"We were very surprised to learn that no two contributing factors – delayed births and shorter life expectancy – occur simultaneously in any of the evaluated countries. So it would appear that there is no country generally losing out because women tend to delay having children."

He added that it is an "unsubstantiated claim" that grandparents spend less time with their children if their children decide to give birth later. 

"The one thing we did establish is that people in richer countries live longer and thus country wealth is one factor that aligns perfectly with how lucky grandkids are with respect to time shared with their grandchildren. And, vice versa: how unlucky grandkids in less wealthy countries are, where they tend to become ‘grandparentless’ faster than their richer neighbours."

Keep up to date with more family news like grandparents today are less available for childcare help than previous generations and grandparents say they learn more from their grandkids than their own children - here are the 20 things they've picked up, as well as one set of grandparents is more likely to spoil their grandchildren than the other, according to this study - do the findings ring true for your family?

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.